Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “If I could only tell one more story, what would it be?” Tell it Well is my answer.
I prided myself on being strong and self-sufficient. I could handle things, even if I was only a sophomore in high school. I took the city bus to prenatal appointments, took my vitamins, signed up for childbirth classes, and worked hard at school. At least, that was what was happening on the outside; in my heart, I was terrified. I had no idea what the future held for me and my child. I could not return home with a baby, and I knew my fostermom couldn’t keep us very long. I dreamed of rescue, for somebody to offer me a place to live in exchange for babysitting their children, for a kind person to take me in, for a relative to say I could stay with them. I yearned for one person to say, “I will help you.”
Then my boyfriend broke up with me. I remember the night. I was babysitting for a woman who worked for the phone company and had free long distance; I cared for her children in exchange for access to my friends at home. I had been away from home four months, long enough that life had moved on for my boyfriend. All of the hope I had that he would take care of us when he turned eighteen evaporated that night. He told me not to call him when our baby was born.
I curled up on the sofa in that house and cried for what seemed like hours. I held my arms around my belly, cradling and protecting my baby as best I could. Many people had talked to me about adoption, but I knew I could not part with my child – I loved him so fiercely. But that night, when the reality that I had nowhere left to turn slapped me hard in the face, I wondered if it was his only hope. I knew there was no hope left for me.
Although I was completely alone, I found my thoughts drifting to God. My friend, Marcia, gave me my first Bible and told me that there was a friend who was closer to me than a brother. She told me that Jesus loved me. I rather doubted it because if He loved me, why would my life be so dark and desperate? But God kept showing up and I found myself thinking about Him. Could He love me? Did He have answers for this mess of a life? I couldn’t imagine.
The pressure to place my baby for adoption became relentless. After all, what did I have to offer my child? Surely he would become a delinquent and an addict if I tried to parent him. I was advised to take a piece of paper and write my name at the top on one side and “adoptive parents” on the other side and then make a list of what we each could give my child. This was a lesson in devastation – and frankly, manipulation. Any hope I had was crushed in that moment. I feared I would be on the streets with my newborn, which would only bring harm to him. I told the social worker that I would consider placing him with adoptive parents.
I could dive deep into the tragedy of losing a child to adoption, but that is not the purpose of this story. What I want you to hear is that Jesus showed up. He didn’t rescue me from my actions, or save me from the devastation that was about to occur in my life. I wish I could tell you that He did – but that isn’t the way He chose to redeem my life.
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me. Ps. 69: 1 – 2